Dislocated Recipes for Success: Delicious Syrian Catholic Fish Curry

Saint Thomas (he of the Doubts) is believed to have travelled to preach the gospel to Kerala in 50 AD (& later Tamil Nadu). Those converted and their descendants are known as Saint Thomas Christians, Mar Thomas Nazranis. (Syro-Malabar Catholic Church or Church of Syrian Catholics). Masses are held in Malayalam.

Saint Thomas is often regarded as the Patron Saint of India and understandably you’ll find a lot of Thomases in these parts.

The churches are examples of what Umberto Eco calls hyper-reality. Bigger, Brighter, Bolder, MORE Catholic, more in-your-face.

We zoomed past truly HUGE (think Godzilla scale) statues brightly illuminated for Christmas festivities. Every small village has a church and/or a saint’s shrine/tower (encased in glass or protected by grilles).

So much for the history lesson – Here is a bigger, bolder recipe for their curry.

Keralan Syrian Catholic curry also known as Fish Molee


For Marination

Black Pepper powder – 1 1/2 teaspoon

Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon

Lemon juice or Vinegar – ½ teaspoon


For the gravy

Canola or coconut oil for frying – 3 tablespoons

Kingfish or any other firm fleshed fish  – ½ kg

Cardamom  – 4

Cloves – 4

Cinnamon – 1 medium stick

Onions , sliced as rings  – 3 medium

Ginger  grated finely – 1 tablespoon

2 cloves Garlic crushed– 1 tablespoon

Green chilli – 3 large sliced thinly

Tomatoes ,– 2 large, cut into circles

Thin Coconut milk – 1 1/2 cups ( 1 cup is 240 ml)

Thick Coconut milk –  1/2 cup

Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon

Black Pepper powder  – 1 teaspoon

Salt – a pinch

Fresh Curry leaves

Coriander leaves to serve


Marinate the fish pieces with pepper, turmeric, salt & lemon juice for an hour. Shallow fry the marinated fish for  3-4 minutes.

Heat oil in a frying pan. Smash cardamom,cinnamon & cloves and add.

Add the onions and green chillies and sauté well till the onions become translucent.

Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Do not let the garlic burn.

Add the turmeric and pepper and sauté for a minute

Add the thin coconut milk  and salt to taste. When it starts boiling add the shallow fried fish pieces.

Spread  the tomatoes  and the curry leaves on the top of the fish pieces.

Cook with the lid on on medium flame till the fish is cooked well.

Add the thick coconut milk , heat for a minute and turn off the fire.

Serve with rice (Brown Keralan if you can get it – a short grained, delicious rice) and chopped coriander.


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